Disney CEO defends studio amid Black Widow lawsuit
Disney CEO defends studio amid Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow lawsuit
Disney CEO Bob Chapek is addressing the company’s future amid its Scarlett Johansson lawsuit following Black Widow’s release in theaters and on Disney+, which the actress alleged breached its contract with her.
Chapek noted Disney “has had a long history of having very symbiotic and cooperative deals with talent and we will continue to, we’re sort of putting a square peg in a round hole right now where we’ve got a deal conceived under a certain set of conditions, that actually results in a movie that is being released in a completely different set of conditions.”
“Disney has fully complied with Ms. Johansson’s contract and furthermore, the release of Black Widow on Disney+ with Premier Access has significantly enhanced her ability to earn additional compensation on top of the $20M she has received to date,”
Chapek said film deals were “cut three or four years ago. Then they get launched in the middle of a global pandemic where that pandemic itself is accelerating a second dynamic, which is this changing consumer behavior,” Chapek said, according to the outlet. “So we’re sort of putting a square peg in a round hole right now where we’ve got a deal conceived under a certain set of conditions, that actually results in a movie that is being released in a completely different set of conditions.”
He said the company would be thinking about those changes “as we do our future talent deals” and Disney is in “this sort of middle position, where we’re trying to do right by the talent”.
Disney faced backlash from Johansson’s agent Bryan Lourd as well as multiple women’s groups in Hollywood, such as Time’s Up, ReFrame and Women in Film, who called the company’s response to the actress’ lawsuit “a gendered character attack” in a joint statement.
In August, Disney attempted to move the lawsuit to binding arbitration, according to court documents obtained by PEOPLE. Arbitration is the confidential process “where disputing parties agree that one or several individuals can make a decision about the dispute after receiving evidence and hearing arguments,” per the American Bar Association.
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